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Five Aside
By ESPN Staff

Cole enjoys 'number one' night

Ashley Cole claimed captaining England during the 1-1 draw with Ireland at Wembley was probably the best moment of his career.

Chelsea left-back Cole was handed the honour of the captain's armband to celebrate his century of caps as he collected number 102 and a special golden cap to mark the milestone.

Asked where it ranked in his list of career moments, the 32-year-old told ITV: "It's probably number one. I never expected to get 100 caps and to have the reception I did.

"I'd like to thank the fans, I didn't expect it, and it was a very proud moment for me, one I'll never forget."

He almost made his mark on the scoresheet when picked out by Theo Walcott following a fine ball from Wayne Rooney, but a first England goal eluded him when Seamus Coleman blocked his path.

"It's a great ball from Wayne and I tried my luck, I thought I could get on the end of it but it's great defending,'' he said. "My eyes lit up but it wasn't to be."

Cole, never one to put himself in the public spotlight, also denied he was a reluctant captain on the night.

"In my mind I wanted to be captain," he said. "I don't really like speaking to the media and the press but this is a dream come true to be captain. A little boy's dream come true."

England manager Roy Hodgson declared himself pleased with the performance if not the result.

"I'm very pleased with our the second-half performance and really quite pleased with the performance throughout. We had sufficient dominance and sufficient goal chances to win the game," he said. "We have to give a lot of credit to the Irish goalkeeper and the whole team for putting so much in to the game, they worked very, very hard to stop us.

"I can't complain about the way we went about our business, I'm just disappointed it ended in a draw and not a win. They scored a good goal on the one occasion they looked like they would score but most of the time they were working very hard to keep us at bay.

"There were a couple of chances for [Alex] Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo [Walcott] where I thought it would be our night and we would get a deserved victory but it turned out as a draw. The important victories we need to get are the ones in the qualifying matches but certainly I'm a lot happier after this performance than the last one.''

Hodgson did confirm that the injury which forced Daniel Sturridge off in the first half would keep the Liverpool striker out of the trip to Brazil and possibly for longer.

"It's ligament damage, we think" he said. "It will definitely keep him out for the Rio game and we think it will keep him out for a few weeks."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report


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